Articles written by Ken Stewart


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  • The best time to prepare for an emergency is right now

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Sep 1, 2021

    September is Emergency Preparedness Month, and Alaska's unique geography can leave us vulnerable to a multitude of emergency situations like wildfires, earthquakes and tsunamis--to name a few. The Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness encourages all Alaskans to have two weeks worth of emergency supplies on hand, as well as a plan mapped out in advance. Logan Stolpe, Emergency Management Specialist at Alaska Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management,...

  • Classes return for lifelong learners

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Sep 1, 2021

    Fall is back to school time, with educational programs for older adults kicking off their fall semesters. Here is an overview of the OLE and OLLI programs’ offerings. OLÉ! Anchorage OLÉ, which stands for Opportunities for Lifelong Education, is raring to go after a summer off with classes both online and – on Fridays – in person. Whether you want to learn about invasive plants in Alaska, films from storytellers around the globe, seabirds and shorebirds, Antarctica or electric vehicles, OLÉ has classes! Online classes through Zoom take place Tu...

  • Discounts, upgrades for Alaska's broadband service

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Jul 1, 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic solidified our dependence on the internet. Throughout the Lower 48, high speed internet access is a given. In Alaska’s rural – and at times, urban – communities, high speed internet access can be hard to come by. According to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Broadband Deployment Report, 85% of Alaskans have internet access at 25 megabits per second (mbs) or higher, the minimum speed standard outlined by the FCC. This breaks down further when considering rural communities, where 63.7% have access to internet wit...

  • Payee Representatives scramble to continue service

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|May 1, 2021

    In the fall of 2019, representative payees in Alaska were involved in a controversy with the Social Security Administration over the legality of charging a certain fee for representative payee services. A representative payee is a person or organization appointed by the Social Security Administration to receive the Social Security or Social Security Income (SSI) benefits for beneficiaries who can’t manage or direct the management of their benefits. Millions of Americans who receive monthly Social Security or SSI benefits need help managing t...

  • Alaska senior centers are cautiously re-opening

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|May 1, 2021

    Like flowers in spring, senior centers across the state of Alaska are beginning to open up again. Most have been closed since March 2020, a time we collectively remember as the end of "normal" life. "Today, a woman came to the center that I had not seen in a year," Marlene Munsell, Assistant Executive Director of Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc. (WASI), said in April. "As more people are vaccinated and feeling comfortable, we expect to see more people return to the center." Senior centers statewide...

  • DMV closure proposal meets resistance

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Apr 1, 2021

    The Alaska State Legislature is still working on the next steps for the Department of Administration’s (DOA) proposed closing of six rural DMV locations around the state of Alaska, including Delta Junction, Eagle River, Haines, Valdez, Tok and Homer for the FY2022 budget. On Mar. 18, Rep. Sara Vance, R-Homer, proposed HB 140 with the support of several constituents, including Rep. Mike Cronk, R-Tok, a representative from one of the impacted DMV locations. HB 140 repeals the requirement for Alaskans – specifically for seniors age 69 and old...

  • Juneau program connects friends with seniors

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Mar 1, 2021

    Friends of Seniors, Catholic Community Service (CCS) Juneau's latest volunteer program, addresses gaps in community care. The program matches senior participants age 60 and older with local volunteers to assist with non-medical, advocacy and daily support care. Friends of Seniors supports seniors with a variety of needs, and the only requirement is the age limit: anyone needing support can participate. Before the COVID-19 pandemic settled in last March, Jennifer Carson, Director of Home and...

  • Proposed state DMV closures raise alarms

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Feb 1, 2021

    Gov. Dunleavy's FY2022 budget includes the same fiscal agenda he has long promised: budget cuts. Released on Dec. 11, 2020, the FY2022 proposal calls for the closure of six Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) locations around the state - Haines, Valdez, Tok, Delta Junction, Homer and Eagle River. Budget proposals are always debated and altered by the state legislature, meaning the proposed DMV closures - mostly located in rural communities - could be nixed in the final FY2022 budget. Nevertheless,...

  • Anchorage program assists with electric bills

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Jan 1, 2021

    Municipality of Anchorage residents have another option for utility relief during the COVID-19 pandemic: The Anchorage Aging & Disability Resource Center’s (ADRC) Utility Assistance Program. Separate from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services’ Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), also called the Heating Assistance Program (HAP), the Anchorage ADRC’s Utility Assistance Program works with Chugach Electric customers to cover one electric bill up to $500. While the Anchorage ADRC assists with the appli...

  • Apply now for assistance with heating costs

    Ken Stewart, Senior Voice|Dec 1, 2020

    Congress has released funding for the Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), granting Alaska a total of $17.4 million to award assistance to low income households struggling with utility bills for the 2020-2021 season. LIHEAP is designed to safeguard the health and well-being of Alaskans by​ offsetting the cost of home heating for eligible Alaskan residents. LIHEAP assists households with income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. The benefit is a one-time payment to the household’s vendor, sen...

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